Players 2022 live updates: Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas shoot incredible bogey-free rounds in howling wind
In the howling wind at TPC Sawgrass on Saturday, it took more than grit to survive. Creativity with shot and club selection were paramount, and two of the greatest artists on the PGA Tour had themselves a day when nearly everyone else was scuffling.
(Scroll down for the latest updates)
With winds gusting more than 40 mph at times and the temperature dropping into the 50s in the weather-ravaged Players Championship, Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson achieved the unthinkable by playing their second rounds with no bogeys. Watson shot four-under-par 68 and Thomas scored 69 to climb the leader board in the tournament that is set to finish on Monday. The second round will continue on Sunday.
Watson and Thomas are the current 36-hole clubhouse leaders at three under, though on the board they are tied for 15th. Tommy Fleetwood, who has played three holes, is at six under after his first-round 66, and Tom Hoge is at six under, not having tee off in the second round.
Players 2022 live updates:
6:01: We were just writing a glowing post on the impressive round by recent Honda Classic winner Sepp Straka, who was two under for the day and five under for the tournament. He was heading for being the second-round clubhouse leader at five under. Then the Austrian found the water at 17 … and then found it again with his third shot. And just like that, all his work for the day is erased. Updated count: 27 balls in water at 17 today.
5:36: And now for something completely different. We had to share this impressive photo by Jared C. Tilton of Getty Images of an osprey with his Catch of the Day. Birds are doing better than the players trying to make birds.
Jared C. Tilton
5:24: Justin Thomas and his shot-shaping have been a marvel today, and with a 20-foot birdie at the fifth (his 14th hole of the day), JT is three under for the round and three under for the week and is only three back of the clubhouse leaders.
5:01: This round is going so slowly that the tour has confirmed that the final four groups on each side won't be able to start the second round today. First-round co-leader Tom Hoge is among those who won't tee it up until Sunday.
4:41: The unlucky draw for this wave hasn’t been a disaster for everyone. Bubba Watson just made a birdie at 12 to get to four under for the day and three under for the tournament. Doug Ghim is two under in his second round and four under overall. He doesn’t have a bogey thorugh nine holes. Defending champ Justin Thomas also hasn’t bogeyed and is two under through 11. Sepp Straka has one bogey but is two under and is the highest on the board, along with Brice Garnett, among the guys currently on the course at five under.
4:25: Brooks Kopeka had this great and very honest answer for what is the second-hardest tee shot at Sawgrass beyond the 17th.
4 p.m.: Zach Johnson’s tee shot into the water at 17 makes it 20 balls wet for the day there from 48 players who have faced it. There were four total in the water on Thursday and Friday.
3:47: The wind has taken a bite out of Keegan Bradley without him playing a shot. The tour’s director of TV rules and video analysis, Mark Dusbabek, reported on NBC that on the 16th green Bradley put a coin down to mark his ball, but hadn’t had a chance to pick it up when it was moved by the wind. He then marked the ball and picked it up—a rules violation and one-stroke penalty. As explained earlier when Rory McIlroy’s ball moved after he marked it, if you’ve marked and picked the ball up, you can replace it from the previous spot. If you haven’t picked it up yet, you have to play it from where the ball moves to. Ah, the Rules of Golf. Sometimes you love ‘em, sometimes you hate ‘em.
3:34 p.m.: Update on Brooks and Scheffler at 17: Scottie got a remarkable “break” when his third shot from the drop zone actually spun back on the top of the wood Dye Tie and ended up a few inches into the grass. He saved double bogey. Koepka, though, missed a shortish putt for double and made triple to go to seven over. Scheffler was four under when he started the day; now he’s two over.
3:25 p.m.: After climbing into a share of the lead at six under, both Kevin Kisner and Brice Garnett have given back shots. So once again, we're back to Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge sharing the lead at six under. Fleetwood is scheduled to begin his second round at 5:11, while Hoge won't tee off until 6:28. In other words, they're not going to be playing many holes today.
3:15 p.m.: The carnage continues at 17, but Brooks Koepka managed to provide the best reaction yet. As a gust of wind hit his ball mid-flight, the four-time major champ just started laughing like a total maniac. As if to say there was nothing he could do about it. Scottie Scheffer wasn't quite as happy as he found the water moments later, but Xander Schauffele smiled as he found the green. So that star-studded group was 1-for-6 hitting the famed island green for the day. Crazy.
2:59 p.m.: And. . . so much for Dustin Johnson having a good day. After making bogey on No. 15, DJ makes a disastrous double boey on the par-5 16th after finding the water with his second shot. Not that he's the only big name struggling. The most exciting highlight of the past hour was Justin Thoms chipping in on No. 14—for par. That being said, Kevin Kisner has joined the leaders at six under and Sepp Straka, who recently won his first PGA Tour title at the Honda Classic, has climbed to five under.
2:40 p.m.: Andrew Putnam just found a new way to make a big number on No. 17. After finding the water with his tee shot (standard), Putnam stuck a wedge from the drop area to about three feet and looked like he'd get away with making just a bogey. Wrong! Three putts later, he walked off with the latest triple bogey on the hole. Ouch.
2:33 p.m.: Sorry for the jinx, DJ! After moving to five under, Dustin Johnson promptly bogeys his next hole to fall back to four under. He still manages to better playing partner Daniel Berger, who makes another double bogey. Berger began his second round at five under, but has fallen back to one under.
2:15 p.m.: While almost everyone seems to be backing up, Dustin Johnson has made a nice move early in his second round. DJ rolls in a 25-footer on No. 14 for birdie to move to two under on his round and five under overall. He's now just one off that lead set by Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge two weeks ago. Sorry, two days ago.
2:09 p.m.: We're playing, but the pace is, well, not great. Wind is wreaking havoc with club selection, there's a pile-up on the 17th tee, and now we just saw Rory McIlroy's golf ball get blown a few feet on the green. After a quick consultation with a rules official, McIlroy was allowed to move his ball back with no penalty (because he had previously marked it), but it's just the latest example of the conditions slowing things down out there.
2:03 p.m.: Brendan Steele rolls in an eight-footer for par on No. 18 and finally, mercifully, the first round is officially over. Only about 54 hours after it started. Amazing. The wind is still whipping, but at least the guys remains dry for now as this tournament tries to get in position for a Monday finish.
1:51 p.m.: Props to Michael Thompson for making the only birdie on No. 18 since play re-started. Unfortunately, it came after he made a double bogey at No. 17, but still, nice bounceback. Thompson posts and opening 72—not bad for someone who didn't get into the field until Friday.
1:36 p.m.: The carnage continues at TPC Sawgrass, and even the game's biggest stars aren't safe. First, Xander Schauffele finds the water on No. 11 with his second shot much like Daniel Berger in the group ahead. And then Jordan Spieth finds the middle of the pond with his tee shot on No. 12. Schauffele makes bogey to fall to six over(!) on his last four holes.
1:14 p.m.: Kevin Kisner came so close at TPC Sawgrass in 2015 when he lost in a playoff to Rickie Fowler. He's in the mix again here early on with a nifty up and down at the 11th hole to get one within the lead.
In the group behind, Daniel Berger was also one off the lead but he just hit his approach into 11 in the water. That's going to be really disappointing—Berger was in the fairway with ball in hand and hitting downwind. Now after a drop, Berger hits into the greenside bunker with his fourth shot. He makes a disappointing double burger to drop back to 3-under.
1:11 p.m.: Good scores are apparently not impossible, as Talor Gooch just proved at the second hole, which is a little more shielded from the gusts on the other side of the course.
12:58 p.m.: The second round is officially underway for a number of players, and one of those players is Dustin Johnson—who makes up for his bogey at the 18th hole with a birdie at his first hole of his second round, a 13-footer that gets DJ back within two of the lead.
12:45 p.m.: The 18th continues to cause absolute nightmares. Justin Thomas appeared to play a terrific recovery for his second shot from above the cart path, but it had too much juice and rolled into the water. Rory McIlroy hit an absolutely ripped driver which drew despite the left-to-right wind. And it traveled ... 245 yards. INSANE. And he again ripped his iron approach from 215 yards, but it came up short. He couldn't help but laugh and smile at what's going on right now.
JT makes a double-bogey 6 at 18, which gets him in the clubhouse at even-par 72. Collin Morikawa manages a bogey after his tee shot way right. That ends up being a 1-over 73 after the rinsed shot at 17. Rory makes par to also finish at 1-over 73.
12:35 p.m.: Scottie Scheffler just advanced his second shot at the 18th hole about 15 yards from the thick rough. Then he finds the water with his third shot. Xander Schauffele's punch shot from the right rough also stayed in the rough. His third shot rolls through fairway and into the water ... then his fifth shot after the drop spun back off the green at least 50 feet. Sheeeeesh, this is really silly.
That's a triple-bogey 7 for Xander, who did have it at 3-under before the 18th hole. He's in now at even-par 72.
12:25 p.m.: Make that four-for-four tee shots in the water at the 17th hole. Collin Morikawa—after backing off the shot about three times—rinses his tee shot. Rory McIlroy is the first of the day to hit the green ... and it just barely cleared the front bunker. And Justin Thomas got a heckuva break with the wind kind of dying down for his tee shot.
The 18th hole is also playing insanely tough right now. Daniel Berger carried his tee shot 225 yards ... with a driver. But he manages to get up and down from the right to complete a 5-under 67. Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth both dropped shots as they completed their first rounds.
It is an absolute advantage to be on the front nine completing your first round right now. The ESPN+ coverage is showing flagsticks from holes on the front ... and they aren't even moving. That's like a completely different golf course. And a nice break for Brice Garnett, who is tied for the lead right now with a few holes to go in his opening round.
12:10 p.m.: The first group has just played through the 17th hole ... and everybody is wet. Just absolute insanity right now. Some of the best players in the world—Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka all just rinsed their tee shots. Xander's approach wasn't even close ... that must've come up like 20 yards short.
12 p.m.: It's official, we have golf once again at TPC Sawgrass! We're seeing sustained winds of 25-30 miles per hour, which will make this so much fun to watch.
Daniel Berger (-5) and Dustin Johnson (-4) are feeling very good about having teed off on the 17th hole on Friday—not having to deal with these crazy winds. They had stress-free two-putts, and you have to feel good about a stress-free par at TPC Sawgrass on Saturday.
11:30 a.m.: It sounds like some golf will, in fact, being played at TPC Sawgrass. It has been nearly 43 hours since players like Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa started their first round around 6 p.m. on Thursday—and they will have a chance to complete that round in a few minutes ... maybe have a quick bite to eat, then head back to the tee for their second rounds.
As our Daniel Rapaport says below, this is a day for your popcorn. The Golf Channel broadcast crew live from TPC Sawgrass can barely be heard because the wind is whipping so hard. Buckle. UP!
The squeegee remains the hero of the week—in addition to the entire golf course staff, of course, led by one of the best in the business, Jeff Plotts.
This is a fun watch on all of what goes into getting this golf course ready to play:
You know things are dire at TPC Sawgrass when the PGA Tour has now included the Wednesday forecast on its daily weather reports. It appears we are saying a Wednesday finish is possible, which is a wild thing to type out.